Italy’s Adriatic coast circuit of Misano may host the San Marino round of the MotoGP season, yet it is Italian in all but name. Little wonder then that Valentino Rossi’s return to the winner’s step of the podium there on Sunday provoked scenes of hysterical jubilation among his legions of devoted fans, as the nine times world champion claimed his first victory on home soil in five years.
Rossi passed 2nd place starter Andrea Iannone off the line to put himself in prime position to attack team-mate and leader Jorge Lorenzo, though the pair had company in the shape of the fast-starting Marc Marquez. The reigning Champion was unhappy with his Repsol Honda bike in the warm up but refused to let it bother him and instantly started challenging Rossi for 2nd. To the delight of his home crowd, the Yamaha man wouldn’t lay down and submit to the Spaniard, fighting back twice as Marquez squeezed through and demonstrating some fierce racecraft that carried the warring pair up to the back of Lorenzo in front.
When Rossi wrong-footed Lorenzo to take the lead and Marquez darted through into 2nd behind, the die seemed cast. That presumption was blown out of the water on lap 10 when Marquez fell at the Rio corner and stalled his bike, taking so long to remount and restart that he was over 40 seconds down on the next rider.
Lorenzo, despite choosing a harder front compound tyre to try and claim an advantage later in the race, couldn’t get near Rossi who duly took his 107th GP victory. The 1-2 for Yamaha put them firmly back in the winner’s circle, while Dani Pedrosa triumphed for 3rd place over Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati.
There were crashes for Stefan Bradl, Danilo Petrucci, Mike di Meglio and Aleix Espargaro, with all escaping thankfully unharmed. Espargaro’s last lap incident handed victory in the open class to Karel Abraham for the first time in 2014.
CLASSIFICATION – San Marino GP – MotoGP – 14th September 2014
Copyright – DORNA